Ann Edie, Alex Kurland and the Panda Project
Ann Edie, a blind woman and a member of NAGDU, The National
Association of Guide Dog Users, traveled to the Guide Horse Foundation
to learn about the Guide Horse training programs and to meet Dan Shaw
and Cuddles. Ann donated more than $1,000 to the Guide Horse Foundation
and set-out to acquire and train Panda, her own Guide horse by Alex
Kurland, a horse trainer interested in using Panda to promote her
clicker training business.
As a voting member of NAGDU, the organization that published malicious and defamatory lies about Janet Burleson said that she would travel to the National Federation of the Blind convention to vote against a condemnation of all non-dog species as Guide for the Blind. Here is an excerpt on what Edie published on this unfair condemnation:
“My sense of irony on reading this issue of HARNESS UP stems from a very similar situation which I found myself in a mere two years earlier, at the NFB Convention of 2001 in Philadelphia, when the Convention passed are solution proposed by the very same officers of NAGDU, which declared canes and guide dogs to be the only suitable mobility techniques for the blind, and resolved specifically to stamp out the use of miniature horses as guides for the blind.”
Ann knew that NAGDU was planning to formally oppose the rights guaranteed by the ADA to use any type of service animal, but Ann was hopeful that the NFB resolution was going to be fair and that she would have a chance to tell NAGDU what she had learned from her visit with me. Here is how Ann Edie recalls her efforts at the NFB convention:
“At that convention, I met privately with Suzanne and Gigi, and argued that the idea of using miniature horses as guides had some underlying logic and possible advantages, and that, in any case, it had certainly not been given sufficient opportunity to demonstrate its practicality or lack thereof to warrant this prejudicial condemnation.”
Ann told us that she was shocked that the NAGDU board was not interested in hearing the truth, and she would not be allowed to voice her concerns about the NFB Resolution.
“I was informed then that the NAGDU Board was committed to the passage of the resolution, and that there was no chance of presenting information or argument to the contrary. I felt truly powerless at that time to influence the course of events. I sat silent in the meeting of the Resolutions Committee when the presentation of the resolution was greeted by hundreds of my fellow Federationists making neighing and clip-clopping sounds and laughing in obvious ridicule of an idea which seemed to me to be worthy of more serious scientific consideration.”
Ann Edie and Alex Kurland have some fundamental disagreements with the Guide Horse Foundation in several training and public relations areas.
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